14 Places to Donate to Fight Racism and Injustice
If you want to address racial injustice, these organizations will help make sure your donation does the most good in supporting people of color.
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The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, and the nationwide demonstrations that followed, have led many people to ask what they can do to address racism and inequality in their communities. However, the current protests aren’t only about the death of one man, they are speaking to broad systemic challenges that affect the lives of people of color on a daily basis, says Domonique James, a political strategist and founder of Politics With Purpose.
“Particularly during this time, as Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted black and brown communities, the structural divide will only grow unless action is taken now,” she says.
How to help fight social injustice
Protesting is one way to make your voice heard, but that path may not be available to everyone (not to mention it can lead to injury). There are lots of other great ways to offer support, including donating, says Binghamton University professor and philanthropy expert David Campbell, PhD.
“Many people prefer to donate money and/or time to organizations working to build more just and inclusive communities,” he says. “There are three main avenues to donate through: Community organizing, research and advocacy, and political campaigns. Each of these contributes to building a stronger, less racist, and more just community in different ways.”
What to know before you donate
Before you throw your cash at the first link you see on Twitter, there are some things to consider if you are really interested in helping fight racism, Campbell says.
- First, listen to people of color. “People who have experienced racism, inequality, police violence, and related issues know the most about it. So before you make a decision to donate, listen to what they are saying about the best ways to make a difference–and that includes organizations you can support in your area,” he says.
- Second, look for organizations run by people of color. Research done by The Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity—also a great place to donate to—shows that donors tend to support white-led organizations at a much higher rate than those led by people of color, says Campbell.
- Third, be clear about what your goals are. Donating money shouldn’t simply be entering a credit card number: Focus on helping to create lasting change. Decide what particular type of change you’d like to see and then donate to an organization that aligns with those goals, he says.
- Finally, check that the organization is legitimate. One way to do this is to look at their report on Charity Navigator, which publishes detailed information and rankings.
Effective and meaningful places to donate to fight racism and injustice
Local politicians working on addressing racism
Your dollars can have a much bigger effect locally than when you donate to a national charity, James says. “Donate money and/or time to down-ballot, local, and municipal level candidates that have platforms on fighting racism and inequality,” she says. “These are the individuals who have the most direct impact on community and police relations and city and state policies. There are a number of leaders of color and allies who are committed to fixing systemic issues; they just need support.”
Not sure how to get involved in local politics? Start by watching your local news and following community social media pages, she says. You can also check Vote 411 for updated information on specific races.
The Equal Justice Initiative
The Equal Justice Initiative is an organization committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States. It was started by a lawyer as a way to provide free legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons—things that happen at a much higher rate to black individuals—and has expanded to other campaigns designed to challenge racial and economic injustice and to protect basic human rights for people of color. Donate now.
Human Rights Watch
Racism isn’t just a problem in the United States, it affects countries all over the world, Campbell says. Human Rights Watch is one of the largest non-profit non-governmental agencies (NGO) in the world, made up of country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others from 70 different countries to investigate and report on human rights abuses around the world, including racial abuse. To ensure their independence, they refuse any government funding which means individual donations are incredibly important in keeping their vital work going. Donate now.
Community census campaigns
It’s hard to allocate resources equally unless you have an accurate picture of a community’s racial and ethnic makeup, which is why the census is so vital to helping black and brown communities, James says. “The results of the 2020 census will play a big part in determining funding, redistricting and representation for the next 10 years,” she explains. You can’t donate directly to the census but you can donate money to local groups that help get the census out to everyone or donate your time as a volunteer. For more information on how to help, check out Census.gov.
Color of Change
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization with 1.7 million members coordinating events and working on campaigns to fight racism all over the country. Their goal is to “build Black power, Black joy, and win justice.” They’re a national group with local chapters which gives them the ability to act in big and small ways so they’re a great place to donate money and/or time, James says. Donate now.
Heal Our Communities
It’s important to pay attention to not what an organization posts on their website only but to look at their impact,” says Froswa’ Booker-Drew, PhD, who has managed several prominent non-profit organizations, including as the former National Community Engagement Director for World Vision. One organization she says has a proven track record of making a positive impact in individual communities is the W.K. Kellogg Foundations’ Heal Our Communities. Each year they host the National Day of Racial Healing and you can donate to that event specifically if you like.
Faith In Action
For many people, donating is an integral part of their religion or personal worship and they prefer to donate through faith-based charities, Booker-Drew says. She recommends Faith in Action, a network of faith communities and churches working together to fight for racial equality. They have a national organization with hundreds of local chapters involved directly in their communities. Donate now.
Black Visions Collective
The Black Visions Collective is a Minnesota-based organization that has taken a lead in promoting honest conversation and lobbying for more black leadership and policy changes that will benefit all people of color and their communities. They are dedicated to dismantling systems of oppression while reducing violence, both during the current protests and in the future. Donate now.
One of the most important ways to fight racism is to help black and brown people escape poverty and find good jobs, James says. Father Gregory Boyle started Homeboy Industries as a way of improving the lives of former gang members in East Los Angeles, but it has evolved into the largest gang intervention, rehab, and re-entry program in the world. Each year they help thousands of people of color through employment reentry programs, tattoo removal services, substance abuse counseling, and other vital services. Donate now. Also, check out the Gangsta Gardner who is doing similar work but through gardening.
Pimento Relief Fund
A need that is, unfortunately, becoming more common is rebuilding businesses after they’ve been damaged by white supremacists or looting. The Pimento Relief Fund provides black businesses—particularly those without insurance coverage—with money and assistance in rebuilding following burning, destruction, or other damage related to riots and/or looting. Donate now.
Center for Law and Social Policy
Sixty-three percent of Americans who live in poverty are Native American, black, or Hispanic, according to Poverty USA. Helping eliminate poverty and income inequality is one of the best ways to fight racism and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has been helping low-income people since 1968. CLASP’s mission is to develop and advocate for policies at the federal, state, and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people, particularly through policies that work to strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Donate now.
Dr. Walter Cooper Fund
Instead of donating specifically to anti-racism organizations, consider donating money to programs that focus on education for lower-income people, many of whom are people of color, says Jonathan Farley, a professor at Morgan University and Harvard’s Scientist of the Year in 2004. The Dr. Walter Cooper Fund (in collaboration with the Rochester Education Foundation) provides programs in literacy, math, field trips, and other educational enrichment for children of color. Donate now. Equations of Peace is another great charity that provides mathematical collaboration opportunities for women from countries in conflict.
- Domonique James, a political strategist and founder of Politics With Purpose
- David Campbell, PhD, Binghamton University professor and philanthropy expert
- Froswa' Booker-Drew, PhD, who has managed several prominent non-profit organizations, including as the former National Community Engagement Director for World Vision
- Poverty USA: "The Population of Poverty"
- Johnathan Farley, D.Phil., a professor at Morgan University and Harvard's Scientist of the Year in 2004